The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) has announced the 2011 Player of the Year recipients. The winners include Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho in the Men’s category; Erynne Lee of Silverdale received the Women’s award; Andrew Whalen of Ephrata received the Junior Boys’ award; Jordan Ferreira of University Place received the Junior Girls’ award; Tom Brandes of Bellevue received the Senior Men’s award; and Ginny Burkey of Fircrest received the Senior Women’s award.
For Chris Williams, 2011 was an historic year that included national and international recognition. In June, Williams earned U.S. Open qualifying medalist honors at Gold Mountain Golf Club. His stellar play would lead to his selection to play for the U.S. team at the Palmer Cup where his undefeated record helped the U.S. beat the European team at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn. Williams would also win a pair of major amateur championships with back to back victories at the 18th Sahalee Players Championship and the 45th Pacific Coast Amateur in July. He would shoot a 16-under par, 268 to earn medalist honors at the 109th Western Amateur, where he would end up finishing as a quarterfinalist. Williams’ outstanding summer culminated in August with his selection to the prestigious Walker Cup Team, where his record of 2-1-0 was one of the shining performances on the U.S. squad that came up short against the Great Britain and Ireland team at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland.
Erynne Lee, now 18 years old, has now been awarded her third Women’s Player of the Year honor in the past four years. Lee’s accomplishments on the state and national level have been nothing short of remarkable. In June, Lee won the Washington State Women’s Amateur by defeating little sister Katie Lee by two strokes with a 54-hole total of 3-under par, 213. The most notable performance of Lee’s season came just weeks later at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Rhode Island Country Club where she would make the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Also of note for Lee in the past year is that she was the 4A Champion at the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association, and participated in the Canadian Women’s Tour events at Beloeil, Blue Springs and Squamish Valley.
Andrew Whalen made a big splash on the Junior Boys’ scene in 2011, which saw him make the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Boys’ Amateur which was held at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton. Whalen also made the semifinals of the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur and finished the year as the 59th ranked Junior in the American Junior Golf Association’s rankings.
Jordan Ferreira’s successful summer included a runner-up finish at the Washington State 4A high school championship and was highlighted by qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Ferreira’s stellar play resulted in her qualification to the Junior America’s Cup Team where she would finish tied for 27th.
Tom Brandes had an inspiring year winning his second consecutive Senior Men’s honor. After qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open in each of the past two years, 2011 was a year of firsts for Tom. He started by winning his first Senior Washington Open title at The Cedars at Dungeness, in Sequim, in June. Then, he would qualify for his first USGA Senior Amateur Championship in his first attempt. Finally, Brandes capped off his memorable season by winning the Washington State Senior Men’s Amateur Championship at Bellingham Golf and Country Club in September.
Ginny Burkey also had a great 2011 season, qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship and also winning the Washington State Senior Women’s Amateur Championship by an impressive five stroke margin.
The WSGA Championship Committee meets annually in early October to vote and select the Players of the Year for the WSGA in the categories of Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’, Junior Girls’, Senior Men’s, and Senior Women’s. The WSGA Performance Points list is used as the primary guide for the selection. Since the WSGA does not have a performance points list for juniors, the WSGA receives the nominations for selection from the Washington Junior Golf Association. Visit www.thewsga.org for more information regarding the WSGA Players of the Year.